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Northwest Iowa – A Progress Report

In the far northwest corner of the rolling and corn-covered hills of Iowa are two of our Protestant Reformed Churches which have been here almost as long as our churches have been in existence.  While this distant outpost of our denomination is sometimes referred to as “the sticks”, here also people of God have long congregated on the Sabbath Day to worship God and have fought valiantly and hard in the defense of the faith.

While one who has lived all his life in the city can scarcely appreciate the advantages of rural life, they are real nonetheless. Here the hectic pace of city life has not yet penetrated.  Her is not yet the scurry and aimless rush which wearies the soul of one living in a large city.  Here is not the need to punch time-clocks, for the work day still begins with the dawn and ends with the setting of the sun in the distant West.   Life is leisurely and quiet—and this is good for the soul.  There is yet time here among these rolling hills to ponder life with its problems and trials.  There is opportunity to spend quiet and beneficial evenings with one’s family talking of the things of value in life.  There is occasion again and again to stop in life’s turmoil and look at the pathway one walks with the perspective of God’s Word.  In the serenity of a countryside clothed in green, one still receives his daily bread directly from the hand of God.  And in the bursting sunshine of a new summer morning, listening to the birds sing and gazing at lands which are bringing forth their harvest, God is near and it is good to be here.

And here too are people who know the truth and love deeply the cause of Christ’s kingdom.  There are dedicated efforts put forth therefore to establish a Protestant Reformed Christian School.

The story is quickly told.

Prior to the split in our churches in 1953, there was a school society organized for the purpose of providing Reformed instruction for our children.  But before a school was established, the split destroyed the society and stymied the efforts of the people to establish such a school.  This school society was an endeavor of Hull.

Soon after the split another society was formed, this effort being a joint endeavor of Hull and Doon.  But there was much work to be done in the West after the split: churches had to be re-organized; buildings for meeting had to be obtained; energies had to be guided into consolidating the position of the Western Churches; and there was little time left to be busy with the affairs of the school.

But things have changed since then.  God has blessed our churches here in the years since, and once again the people are turning their attention to the need to provide covenant instruction for the children of the church.

Our people who have been busy all these years in establishing school of our own know the problems which are involved.  In some respects, these problems are multiplied here in the mid-West.  Nevertheless, they are not insurmountable.  There was some hope that by September of 1965 a school would be established, but this was evidently not the will of our God.  There is every hope that one more year will see a school also here.

There are several remarks of general interest to our readers.

The people are not unaware of the desperate need of a school.  They fully realize that time is short and that a school must be established in the very near future.  They regret deeply that many years have passed without a school being built.  And they offer no excuses for the delay.

One problem which, in a way, surmounts all others is the problem of transportation.  The fact of the matter is that in a farm community the people are very widely scattered and the distances are great.  Perhaps within a circle of a 60 mile radius all our people could be encompassed; but it is not less than that.  Add to this very severe winters which send temperatures far below zero and clog roads with drifting snow, and you will see this is no minor problem.

There is a unique program in this area geared to keeping the school movement healthy.  This is a program of lectures which are given at least once a year in which the people of the area are called together to listen to several of our ministers discuss the problems and the calling of covenant instruction.  These have proved very beneficial, and there would be a lack in the society’s activities if they were discontinued.  Besides this, there are also news sheets which are periodically written and distributed in the two churches which do not simply inform the people of progress being made in the school, but which also discuss the various problems involved in establishing a school whose main characteristic and foundation is the truth of the Reformed faith which we are called to maintain.

The need is felt deeply of teachers.  It is well understood that in order to obtain teachers for our school, it is also necessary to provide teachers for our schools—teachers who come from this area.  But there is here also a close relationship.  For while we need to supply teachers for our schools in order to obtain them for this school, it is also true that a school of our own will aid immeasurably in encouraging our young people and children to pursue teaching as a vocation in God’s kingdom.

The plans are being given their final touches; help is being sought in erecting a building; a site is being purchased; the society has demonstrated its willingness to establish a school; the end, under the blessing of our covenant God, cannot be far distant.